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Emerging from the shadow

Geelong World Cup, February 27, 2005

Two World Cup wins in the space of nine days - what a great start to 2005!

At the race presentation on Friday evening I was introduced to the audience as 'the shadow' - the rider who is always there but rarely standing the highest in the middle. I went to bed that night thinking.. well at least I am usually there! I guess there have been a few incidents over the past couple of weeks that have encouraged and motivated me to take this win. I no longer wanted to hear 2nd again or 'the shadow'.

The sun was shining as we pedaled around the picturesque waterfront. Sitting in the bunch surrounded by 'stripes' - Olympic, world, world cup and national champions was daunting, but also exciting!

It was a perfect day for myself, NSWIS and G.S. SAFI Pasta Zara Manhattan. The weather was great and everything else just fell into place. I was racing here in Geelong with the NSWIS team but also proudly wearing the shorts of my Italian professional team (G.S. SAFI Pasta Zara Manhattan).

It was the NZ team who got the race started, they attacked one after the other for the first half of the race. Many of the young Australian riders continued to try their luck at a break away, but it seemed a little too tough to stay out there with such a strong international field chasing them down.

On the second last time over the hill (a tough short berg) it seemed that the perfect selection had broken away with many strong riders, which included Susanne Ljungskog and Mirjam Melchers. I bit the handlebars and pushed liked crazy - and to my amazement the group came back together before one lap to go. It was at this point that I was confident that I could have a podium finish!

In the final kilometres everyone who was anyone was fighting for positions and wheels - the adrenalin was flowing - aided by the wonderful and supportive crowd of spectators. From the last corner I was on second wheel and felt that I had plenty of power to react to any scenario.

Pulling on the World Cup jersey in front of a 'home' crowd was a very proud moment.

Now for round two in New Zealand...A successful day wont necessarily mean winning, but maybe just getting to the finish!

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Rochelle Gilmore...